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We still strong, says Moleleki



MASERU – Monyane Moleleki, the leader of the Alliance of Democrats (AD), says he was not surprised by his party’s dismal performance in last Friday’s election.

Speaking to thepost yesterday at his home in Maseru, Moleleki blamed the loss on the defection of senior party officials earlier this year.

Moleleki said the defectors went on to de-campaign the party telling supporters that the AD was on its knees.

The damage they inflicted on the party was massive, Moleleki said.

Yet despite the damage they inflicted on the AD in the run-up to the election, the party went on to put a stellar performance winning two constituency seats in Mosalemane in Berea which was won by deputy leader Professor

Ntoi Rapapa and Maliba-Matšo constituency which was won by Mokoto Hloaele.

Moleleki said the election results had clearly shown that the AD remained a force to reckon with in Lesotho politics.

Moleleki lost the Thaba-Bosiu constituency to the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP)’s Malebaleba Joseph after transferring his candidacy from his home constituency of Machache.

The doyen of Lesotho politics, who became active in the 1960s as a youth for the Basutoland Congress Party (BCP), has been winning the Machache constituency ever since 1993 following the restoration of democracy in Lesotho.

He said his last week’s loss in Thaba-Bosiu, and the AD’s poor performance in other 76 constituencies countrywide, did not come as a shock to him.

“You will recall that some of our senior party officials defected to the RFP and started telling our followers countrywide that our party was no more,” Moleleki said.

“We had to work hard telling the people that was not true,” he said.

“But the damage had already been done.”

The party’s secretary general, Dr Mahali Phamotse, defected to the RFP. She also suggested that the AD had no future and should fold and join the RFP.

As the secretary general Dr Phamotse was the backbone of the party’s administration.

Her jumping ship sent a signal to other AD supporters that the house was on fire, six months before a key general election in October.

The other two MPs who resigned to join Matekane’s new party were ’Manthabiseng Phohleli, the president of the women’s league, and the national treasurer Tlohelang Aumane.

Moleleki, who moved from Machache to Thaba-Bosiu to pave way for Phatšoana Matlali to stand after the people denied him a chance to stand in election for the seventh time, said the defectors had wreaked havoc in the constituencies.

He said when he arrived in Thaba-Bosiu he found the party structures in disarray and he had to start from the scratch to give the constituency a semblance of organisation.

The party, he said, had serious problems in many other constituencies and reorganising it has not been easy.

He said the fact that the AD won two constituencies, Mosalemane in Berea by deputy leader Professor Ntoi Rapapa and Maliba-Matšo by Mokoto Hloaele, shows that the party is still strong.

“We are tough, so that means that we can make the medicine sick,” Moleleki, a leader known for his strong sense of humour, said bursting in laughter.

Moleleki said the AD members were committed and steadfast in their goal of advancing the party’s agenda in the run-up to the election.

“They maintained our presence when everyone was writing us off.”

Moleleki however declined to speak about the negotiations he has been having with his coalition partners, the RFP and the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) before the deal is signed.

He however insisted that their coalition government will be strong.

He said the fact that their collective parliamentary seats will only be 65 will not mean the government will be weak because the opposition cannot easily pursue their MPs to cross the floor.

Moleleki said the possibility is that parties forming the government could entice the opposition MPs to cross the floor.

“Normally, when a new government comes into being there are more possibilities that the opposition will cross into government,” he said, adding that the opposition MPs might not feel comfortable staying there and can decide to cross to the ruling side.

Moleleki said he will be true to the coalition agreement and “I have no personal aspirations outside of the coalition agreement”.

“What I hope to, and what I pray to achieve is what will come out in the coalition agreement,” he said, avoiding discussing what the coalition agreement will entail.

Moleleki said he has had a few regrets in his long political journey – losing his loyal comrades, as they left following political differences.

“I hope and pray to retain the new friends,” he said.

Moleleki, a pan-Africanist since youth who for decades has been associated with Lesotho’s Basutoland Congress Party (BCP) and its breakaway chips, says forming the AD did not mean he had dumped his political ideology.

Rather, he broke away from people who in his view had tainted the philosophy through their bad deeds.

Such ones, he said, have ruined the good image of the congress movement, as the pan-African movement is known in Lesotho.

“I cannot align myself with them. I cannot associate myself with some of those characters.”

Caswell Tlali

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